Quantitative knowledge about the biosphere-atmosphere exchanges is essential to predict the evolution of the planet’s ecosystems, weather and climate. The principal exchange and transport mechanisms are by turbulent motion, and the accuracy of any quantitative descrip-tion of turbulent flow depends on the quality of the underlying experimental data. One way to examine the validity of turbulence measurements is the closure of the energy balance at the Earth’s surface. However, worldwide measurements show that turbulent heat fluxes are underestimated by 10-30%. This surface energy balance closure problem is recognised as the most important enigma of micrometeorology, considerably limiting progress in atmospheric and climate sciences. Evidence form previous work indicates that a major part of the missing flux is caused by large-scale atmospheric motion. This is in agreement with studies of the atmospheric boundary layer using large-eddy simulation (LES), where the flow is explicitly resolved for large scales whereas smaller scales are parameterised. However, to date there is no generally applicable way of dealing with this problem. Clearly, a way forward, promising a solution to this enigmatic problem, requires a combination of numerical modelling and different measurement techniques. The Helmholtz TERENO infrastructure provides excellent fundamental data for this research.
Helmholtz-University Young Investigators Groups are intended to improve an existing link between a Helmholtz Center and a University by enhancing collaboration activities and knowledge exchange. This group is a cooperation between KIT/IMK-IFU in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the KIT/IfGG in Karlsruhe.
This Young Investigator Group is funded by the Helmholtz-Association through the President’s Initiative and Networking Fund, and by KIT.